CND Day 2 – Side Event of the UN Reference Group on HIV and Injecting Drug Use

On Day 2 of CND, the Reference Group to the UN of HIV and Injecting Drug Use held a side session to review its most recent research and consensus recommendations.

According to the Reference Group,

– Injecting drug use has been reported in 151 countries
– In 89 countries there is no solid evidence of the extent of injecting
– There are approximately 15.9 million people who inject drugs globally
– Approximately 3 million people who inject drugs are living with HIV
– Needle and Syringe Programmes are available in 82 countries and absent in 69 countries
– Opioid Substitution Therapy is available in 71 countries and absent in 80 countries

The Reference Group identified 4 interventions with the strongest evidence of of effectiveness in HIV prevention among injecting drug users.

– Opioid Substitution Therapy
– Needle and Syringe Programmes
– Antiretroviral Therapy for HIV+ people who inject drugs
– Sexual risk reduction programmes among people who inject drugs

The Reference Group noted that coverage of interventions is typically low in all regions of the world

The Reference Group also identified 2 interventions that have NOT been demonstrated to have have a positive impact

– Compulsory detention of people who use drugs
– Detox in the absence of any other interventions

Consensus Recommendations of the UN Reference Group

1. Scale up the 4 interventions identified in combination
2. Better data on the size of the problem is needed to develop an effective response
3. Effectively treating drug dependence reduces crime
4. Safe disposal of syringes reduces risk of HIV transmission in the community
6. HIV among prisoners is a serious issue that has not been addressed in most countries
7. National laws should allow distribution of injecting equipment
8. Drug users should be referred to health services
9. Ensure health care information must remain confidential
10. Effective HIV prevention, treatment and care should be provided in prion settings
11. An end to imprisonment of people for personal drug use and possession for personal use
12. End of compulsory drug detention

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